Now, they’re preparing for what could be their final game together.
Okafor will likely be one of the top two picks in June’s NBA draft, and Jones is considered a first-round talent if he elects to leave early. That means Monday night’s national championship game against Wisconsin could be the last time they share the floor.
“We haven’t talked about it, if this is the last time we’re going to play together,” said Jones, who rooms with Okafor for road games. “We’re just focused on the next game.”
Many people think the two have been balling together for years, they are so inseparable. But the truth is, the year they’ve spent in Durham has been an aberration.
The two of them never played together in high school _ Okafor played for Whitney Young in Chicago and Jones for Apple Valley High School, just south of Minneapolis. Nor did they play on the same AAU team _ Okafor played for Mac Irvin Fire, Jones for the Howard Pulley Panthers.
So how did they become a package deal?
It was playing for USA Basketball that things clicked. The two became inseparable during a camp in 2010, and grew closer while helping the U-16 national team win the FIBA Americas title the following year. By 2012, while helping the U-17 team to an 8-0 record at the world championships in Lithuania, they began to think of playing together in college.
Now, after just one season at Duke, they might be splitting up again.